Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Sea Bass, Black

© Diane Rome Peebles
Sea Bass, Black Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Atlantic Sea & Rock Bass, Black Perch, Chub, Tallywag U.S. Atlantic Traps
Sea Bass, Black Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Atlantic Sea & Rock Bass, Black Perch Chub, Tallywag U.S. Mid-Atlantic (Maine to North Carolina) Otter trawl

Black Sea Bass, Trap or Otter Trawl, U.S. Atlantic & U.S. Mid Atlantic

Once deemed overfished, U.S. trap-caught black sea bass have rebounded and been promoted to a "Best Choice."

Consumer Note

The terms "bass," "sea bass" and "seabass" are general names commonly applied to a wide range of different fish species including toothfish, croaker and rockfish. Make sure to ask what type of sea bass when ordering, especially since Seafood Watch® ratings vary for black sea bass depending on whether the fish is caught by trap or trawl gear.


Black sea bass is a true sea bass related to groupers, and commonly caught by commercial and recreational fishermen along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico. Black seabass populations were once overfished, but have now recovered to a healthy abundance.

South of North Carolina, pots or traps are the main gear used to capture black sea bass. This method is fairly selective, often utilizing unbaited traps that catch almost entirely black sea bass. Healthy populations and a benign fishing method make pot-and-trap-caught black sea bass a "Best Choice."

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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat